A pharmacist counts tablets of Hydrocodone at a pharmacy in Portsmouth, Ohio.
A pharmacist counts tablets of Hydrocodone at a pharmacy in Portsmouth, Ohio. (REUTERS/Bryan Woolston)

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He was shooting 30 roxys a day, up to 70 milligrams. He recalls overdosing on multiple occasions, coming to, and realizing his legs were numb and blue.

"I'm convinced I killed myself during that time and Jesus resurrected me, based on praying parents and prophecy," Brandon Henderson tells Charisma News.

How did a pastor's son who was raised in church and believed in Christ end up as a statistic, part of an epidemic eating away at the land of the free?

Opioid chart Last week, President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis an active national emergency.

 "The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I am saying, officially, right now, it is an emergency. It's a national emergency," Trump says. "We're going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis. It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had."

 For parents like Lesa Henderson, the announcement comes as welcome news.

 Lesa, an author, speaker, filmmaker and pastor, says she watched her son        tortured at the hands of something that initially came from his doctor.

 "The biggest deception to me is because it's prescribed," Lesa tells Charisma  News. "[People think] it's prescribed, so therefore it's OK ... It's so strong and so  easy to begin to abuse and become addicted to. And because it's prescribed,  they would look at my son because, OK, he was using stuff finally that wasn't  prescribed, just off the streets intravenously, but not realizing that it spawned  from the prescription. Honestly when people are on this opiate, you try to take  them off, they'll crawl across glass on their hands and knees to get it."

 It started simply enough, with a few prescription painkillers from his doctor for  back pain in 2008, though Brandon says he started experimenting with softer  drugs like pot long before that. Soon, Brandon traveled from his Jacksonville  home to Miami, hopping off the interstate to stop at pill shops to stock up.

 When insurance for these medications runs out, addicts like Brandon turn to  heroin because it's cheaper and easier to come by on the streets.

 Though he cried out to God for intervention, he says he felt like the Lord was far  away.

 But God continued to speak through Brandon's parents.

 After shooting up, Brandon would call his father, who would answer the phone  every time with "Man of God, how are you?"

"Dad said, 'You will live and not die,' and would stand and declare works of the Lord. He would call me, 'man of God,' and I'd be like 'Are you kidding me? Do you know what I just did?' There was an offense there, but something in my heart longed for that, him calling that out in me."

Brandon credits these prophetic words for saving his life. Lesa says Brandon would overdose, and they would find him passed out on concrete stairs. Brandon attempted suicide multiple times and says he believed he succeeded, but God refused to let the death stick.

So he decided to quit, but failed in his own strength and was soon part of one of the largest drug busts in the state of Florida at the time.

"Before my addiction, I was raised in church, raised to believe in God, and I did believe in God," Brandon says. "I felt strongly at a young age that He had a call on my life. During my addiction, I doubted all that, questioned whether God existed. I blamed Him for a lot of things that happened in my life instead of taking ownership myself. After my addiction, I went through inner healing, dealt with my issues and learned to take ownership through revelation. I realized God was there, giving me the strength to carry myself through that and pull me out of it. Even in my darkest time, even when I was questioning God and angry at God, I would still cry out to Him. I was lying in my bathtub shaking and crying, 'Please rescue me.' Rescue came by way of the police, but I didn't know it at the time."

Brandon and Lesa both say they believe addicts line the pews in churches. Many don't even know they have a problem.

"Because the opiates addiction is so strong, the way that pain pills are divined, they're divined to become dependent on them, the more you take them, they're designed to do that. People go into addictions not meaning to have them. Maybe they broke their back, the doctor prescribed pills and they start having issue with prescriptions. Now they're in bondage, but their heart is still seeking God."

Lesa believes something else, something more spiritual, is behind the rampant epidemic.

"It's witchcraft. We know that we get our word 'pharmacy' from the Greek word pharmakeia, which translated actually means 'witchcraft.' We know that witchcraft is a mind-altering state, and so is the drug. Its completely mind altering. It's one of the most horrible things we've ever witnessed. It's really bad."

Which is why the country needs prophets and preachers to arise and speak life over the decay.

"There is hope for the hopeless. Not just for people in addiction, but for family members. Speak life over your loved ones. Prophesy over them. In Ezekiel, he commanded the dry bones to live again. Prophesy life over [addicts]. Look at a story like mine, and not to sound cliche, but they can go from guttermost to uttermost."

Brandon is now five years clean. He leads worship and the inner healing ministry at his parents' church. He travels around the state sharing his testimony and warning businessmen and women about the dangers of opioid addiction.

"Even though I have a felony, I'm the general manager at Best Buy," Brandon says. "I went from having lost everything. Right before my seven-year prison sentence, I gave all my furniture away. I had nothing, not even a bed to sleep on. Now I have eight properties, and seven of those are rental properties. Look at God's restoration: unmerited favor. There is hope for the hopeless. When I got my felony, I thought, I'm never going to be anything. I have a big history of drug abuse, big history for selling drugs. I started seeking God, making the next right decision, and the restoration, it blows my mind how faithful He is."

 

Jessilyn Justice @jessilynjustice is the director of online news for Charisma.

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